Designers are humans, too, but for a customer, sometimes it can feel like they come from another planet. You trust that they know what they’re doing. However, if their choices don’t appeal to you, it can be challenging for you—without design knowledge—to adequately explain what you want. Meanwhile, they’re following certain design “rules” that can be hard for a non-designer to understand. That white space, for example, might look to you as though they’ve wasted an opportunity to tell more about your business, but in reality that space was specifically chosen to keep the design clean and readable, and to draw attention to the few words and images.
In reality, the design process can and should be simple and enjoyable for both the designer and the client. The key is in knowing what needs to be communicated, which is why Electro Image always makes a point to ask questions that many clients don’t think to mention.
Questions to Ask Your Print Product Designer
Before you work with a designer, you should ask how long they’ve been in business, what types of designs they usually work on, and if they can share any references or previous projects with you. Some of these should be available online.
Even after you’ve chosen a designer, you still might not have a clear idea of the exactly what it is you want, and how to ask for it. It can be helpful to gather samples from magazines or the web that you find appealing in color or style. You can also collect examples you don’t like, and share all of these with your designer.
Consider the following questions to help you better communicate with your designer:
- What colors would my audience respond to? This study indicates “people make up their minds within 90 seconds of their initial interactions with either people or products. About 62‐90 percent of the assessment is based on colors alone.”
- How many colors should we use on this postcard/magnet/flag?
- What colors and designs have worked in this industry?
- What are the current design trends that I should avoid so I can stand out? Which are worth incorporating?
- Are there any design clichés in this industry that I should avoid?
- Where should I put my logo on this table talker/door hanger?
When you speak with your designer, talk about how you envision your product or advertisement to look to customers. He or she might make a few suggestions from the get-go, pointing out, perhaps, that the color you’ve chosen doesn’t quite suit your brand, that you’re trying to fit too much information in the available space, or that the font you like is hard to read. The designer will also ask you some questions about your company, your target audience, design preferences that haven’t been made clear, and more.
Design Myths That Inhibit Clear Communication
Another possible reason for a disconnect between designer and client is that the client goes to the designer with some preconceived notions about how designers do their jobs. Before you speak about your project, let’s bust a few myths about designers and their work.
Myth: The Design Process is Quick and Easy
Like other experts, designers work hard to rise to the top of the profession. They’ve studied art, marketing, and psychology, and they keep themselves current on trends and industry technology. They’re constantly learning and growing so they can deliver the best results in the ever-evolving world of advertising.
Myth: A Good Designer Can Design Something That Appeals to Everyone
Nothing appeals to everyone. The best a designer can do is get a clear idea of who your target market is and what you have to offer them, and to create designs based on that information.
Myth: Fixing Designs is Easy, So Just Get Started and We’ll Work Through It
Small changes can affect the entire design. A change in font, for example, might require a new arrangement of the words and images. A new color might mean changing the other colors, as well. Each little piece of the design requires careful thought and planning, so it’s best to know as much as you can about what you want before the designer begins.
Myth: I Don’t Really Know What I Want, but a Good Designer Can Figure It Out
Designers aren’t mind readers. You don’t have to be an artist yourself, but you need to be clear about your audience and the message you want to send. You should also be willing to offer clear feedback if a designer is off track. Vague responses like these will not help your designer improve the design:
- “I like it, but it needs to be a little better.”
- “Could we make it look softer and friendlier?”
- “This isn’t quite the shade of blue I really wanted.”
- “There’s a lot of space there; could we add more information?”
- “Can you start over?”
Strive to be as specific as you can. For a designer, creating the perfect image and delivering it to a satisfied client is what the job is all about, so you can believe they’re ready to listen to your preferences while applying everything they’ve learned about effective design.
Explaining what you want starts with a designer who is ready to listen and committed to enjoying the process along with you. At Electro Image, we make the design process simple and fun. Each design, no matter how big or small, receives personal attention, and we work efficiently without sacrificing quality. No matter what you have in mind, we’ll help you transform your idea into a full-fledged design. With more than 50 combined years of experience designing for a wide variety of industries, we can help you communicate your needs and wishes to create the best design for your business.